Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1887, March 26 - Two freight trains collide at Franktown, CPR., Chalk River sub.,
two locomotives and 16 freight cars derailed

Ottawa Journal - 26 March 1887

Two C.P.R. Freight Trains Collide Near Smiths Falls.
The Line Blocked, a Bad Wreck, and an Engineer Reported Injured.
Special to the Journal
Carleton Place, March 26. A collision occurred between two freight trains near. Franktown this morning, by which one man was badly hurt and the Brockville and Ottawa branch of the C. P. R. completely blocked. The particulars as learned here are to the effect that a freight train, engineer Muldoon, left Carleton Place to cross another freight at Smith's Falls. Just after Muldoon's train left Franktown, however. and was near Welsh's the other train bore in sight and a terriffic collision ensued. Both locomotives and sixteen cars got off the track and some were badly wrecked. All the freight cars were heavily laden, several containing cattle. Engineer Muldoon was badly, but not, it is believed, fatally hurt.
What a Traveller Says.
A passenger on the Toronto train, who arrived in the city this afternoon, says : "We passed Smith's Fslls station without any warning this morning about daylight, and when about two miles and a half east of the station our engine driver saw the light of the burning cars about half a mile ahead. He immediately shut off the steam and stopped the train. In company with several others I started to walk down the line to the scene of the accident.  Here a terrible wreck met our view. The two freight trains, one with twelve and the other with ten cars, lay one in tremendous heap of ruins. The freight including grain, and other small stuff lay scattered about two and three feet deep, the bags having burst. The two engine were locked in one another's grasp and the tenders were heaped on top of them. Many of the car were telescoped and several were thrown from the line and burned. The wreck was certainly one of the worst and most extensive that has occurred on the line of the C.P.R. this season. The engineer on the train going west said that he saw the
along at about twenty-five miles an hour, and immediately put on the brakes also blowing the whistle, but the east-bound train came on with unabated velocity giving him only time to jump for his life. The two engines came together with  tremendous force, and both trains were heaped upon one another in the space of a second. The flying freight smashed the telegraph wires, thus preventing communication being received at Ottawa from Smith's Fall's. None of the train hands, so far a I know, on either train, were injured, but some had hair breadth escapes. About 9 o'clock Assistant Superintendent Spencer arrived on the scene with a wrecking train and about forty men, who proceeded at once to clear the track of the immense pile of debris. Then the passengers on the Toronto train were taken across the place where the wrecked train lay and were then brought to Ottawa on another train. The wrecking hands cannot possibly clear the line before to-morrow at noon. It was impossible to find out who was responsible for the accident, but it is understood that a rigorous investigation has been ordered.

Ottawa Citizen 30 March 1887

The CPR accident.
The matter shifted by the assistant superintendent.
A citizen reporter yesterday interviewed Mr. H. B. Spencer, of the Canadian Pacific Railway, in reference to the alleged Smash-up which has been reported in the newspapers, took place near Smiths falls, on Saturday the 26th instant.
Reporter - "Is the report as stated in the newspapers correct?"
Superintendent - "I regard the report as an attack upon the CPR calculated to harm the company. That a collision had occurred and damage done was a fact, but the balance was exaggerated."
He said he had personally visited the place where the collision occurred, and after a most vigorous investigation he had obtained the following facts - on Saturday morning a collision between two freight trains about four miles north of Smith Falls Junction occurred, which resulted in several empty boxcars and loaded cars being damaged; all freight however, being saved. The engines were to some extent broken up, but can be repaired and put in service again in the course of a few days. On the report of the accident having taken place a box car and a large force of men went to the rescue to clear the wreck, and transfer the passengers from the cars of the Toronto Express, which had been delayed by the accident to others which had been brought down to save delay. The work of clearing the track proceeded with in the quickest possible space of time, the line being cleared by. The same afternoon.
"Who is to blame for the accident?"
Superintendent - the cause of the accident is due to carelessness on the part of the conductor of the westbound freight train, who had orders to cross freight special at Frankton [sic]. However, instead of carrying out his orders he passed his crossing place, and collided with the freight special, which he should have crossed at Frankton [sic], four miles north of Smith's Falls. The conductor was promptly arrested and placed in gaol at Smith's Falls, and when brought up for trial will be prosecuted by the company.
Reporter - "Anybody injured by the collision?"
Superintendent - "No; the statement that engineer Muldoon was badly hurt is altogether incorrect. No loss of life or any injury to limb, fortunately, occurred"

Ottawa Journal 30 March 1887

The conductor of the westbound freight train on the CPR, who caused the big smash-up near Smith's Falls, on Saturday through disobeying orders, and who was arrested and placed in jail at Smith's Falls after the collision, came up for trial yesterday and was discharged, there being no persons present to prosecute.

Almonte Gazette 1 April 1887

Used the Citizen account

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